Microsoft next week will release the first service pack for its Office for Mac 2011 suite, with new features including calendar syncing between Apple’s Sync Services and Microsoft’s Outlook for Mac.

However, Microsoft says upcoming changes from Apple mean that one part of those new sync capabilities — the ability to sync Outlook calendars via Apple’s MobileMe — will work for less than a month.

Apple’s decision to uncouple MobileMe from its Sync Services next month was “an unfortunate surprise” to Microsoft, said Pat Fox, a senior director in Microsoft’s Office product management group, in an interview. He said Microsoft had been developing Service Pack 1 for Mac Office 2011 under the belief that the connection would be there.

In a blog post this morning, Fox explains what the changes will mean …

MobileMe will no longer sync with MacOS Sync Services as of May 5th (or now if you have already moved your account to the new version of MobileMe calendar). As a result, Outlook 2011 SP1 calendars that sync with Sync Services on the Mac, will NOT be synced with MobileMe calendars.

So what does this mean? If you sync your iPhone or iPad calendars with Sync Services (ie via iTunes over a cable), your mobile device calendars WILL be synced with Outlook 2011 SP1. If you sync your iPhone or iPad calendars with MobileMe, they will NOT be synced to your Outlook 2011 SP1 calendar, because of the broken link between MobileMe and Sync Services. Hopefully Apple’s changes will not impact very many of you.

Microsoft says other features of the Mac Office 2011 service pack include better stability, security and support in Mac Outlook for server-side rules in Exchange. The service pack will be available for download by existing Mac Office 2011 users next week.

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  • Anonymous

    MobileMe calendar uses CalDAV… Microsoft should be able to implement universal CalDAV support… I don’t think Apple is doing anything proprietary or non-standard here.
    Also, new MM calendars have been around since Summer 2010 – why is Microsoft playing the “didn’t get the memo” card now?

    • DevStar

      Apple just announced the change to Sync Services.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think that announcement is new. I have MobileMe and after upgrading to the new calendar back in September, I noticed it was not relying on sync services anymore. Microsoft could have seen it too.

        “[…]However, Apple also plans to discontinue the use of Mac OS X Sync Services with its subscription MobileMe service starting on May 5 for all users. The change is already in place for users who have already moved their account to the new version of MobileMe calendar, which came out of beta last October.”

  • Anonymous

    Wow, sounds like my kinda party.

  • Atillahn

    At this point I am starting to feel sorry for MS for being so far in the past. What is a ” service pack” on new 2011 SW mean? It did not work right when I bought it? I have not used outlook in years. Why can’t I just buy Office APs as downloadable bits through an AP library?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, because iOS and OSX never ask me to update them for fixes because, like Athena, they emerge fully grown and perfect from Steve Jobs’ skull.

      • Anonymous

        Nice sarcasm :) I thought I was the only one getting hit every Sunday with an update of the OS (oops, I mean iTunes, Safari, Quicktime and important security fixes) .

    • AntiSocialNetworking

      You win the prize for the most stupid comment I’ve read this week. Congrats!

  • Guest

    This kind of change without a public roadmap is one of the reasons why Apple is not ready for the enterprise

  • SteveL

    Another reason to stop playing in Apple’s walled garden. I pulled the ripcord and jumped to Windows 7 a few months back after 20 years sipping on the Apple flavored Cool Aid. As an OS W7 has caught up to Apple finally and IMO surpassed it for a lot of functionality. The fact that I can use Office Apps without compromise and compatibility issues, access media as I wish and buy similarly powered hardware (even if not quite so pretty) for pennies on the dollar makes the move even sweeter. Sure if I was editing video or making music I might consider Apple but for real work Windows is the way to go. Microsoft’s big problem is marketing….and they should just stop making software for Apple if these are the games they keep playing.

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